Friday, November 14, 2014

Woodland Fairies - Part 1

Like most little girls her age, Zahavah loves fairies. Nevermind that they are mythical creatures rarely (if ever) seen in Montessori classrooms...Despite the fictional theme, I still tried to keep in line with some work you'd see in Montessori environments. Here's what my littlest has been up to last week...

Fairy Garden - Hands on Play Dough Moment
Playdough is practically a necessity with preschoolers. I used to always buy the pre-made cans but I've now switched to making my own. Based on an idea seen a while back on Fantastic Fun and Learning, I decided to offer Zahavah the opportunity to create her own fairy garden by providing brown glittery play dough, small twigs, fresh leaves, glass gems, silk flowers, shiny rocks and a Safari Toob of Fairies. Needless to say, this was a very popular activity and it came out every single day.

Fairy Bells Matching by Sound
I have been told that fairies can make a jingly and beautiful little noise when they move about. I thought it'd be the perfect time to introduce Zahavah to a homemade version of the Montessori sound canisters. I used empty Kinder Surprise egg shells and three different sizes of bells. My daughter quickly discovered that shaking the container slowly and close to her ear was the best way to discern the sound and allow for a great match. Shaking hard made them all sound the same! :)

Sweeping fairy dust is magical!
Has the tooth fairy come by your house already? My eldest has been visited twice already and sometimes, the fairy leaves a residue of fairy dust (really just salt and glitter). I had the chance to collect some and used it for an activity here: sweeping fairy dust. Not an easy task!

Spooning "Fairy Water Pearls"
Water beads are a newer material in our "school". I bought it last year and ended up forgetting about it. Whilst cleaning during the summer, I found them again and made sure they'd get our of their bottle this year! :) How perfect are these for a fairy activity? I only had blue on hand but an array of colors would have been delightful. We called them "fairy water pearls" to add some appeal to this transfer activity. It was very much loved and "Z" transferred and transferred over again. She especially loved how the last 1-2 beads would sort of flee when the spoon came near by!

Counting and Hunting Mushrooms
Polka dot mushrooms are fun! I made these myself a few years ago and they've always been well received. This time, we chose to count the dots on each mushroom. It was easy until it got to 9 and 10 (my little one would count up to 16 dots at times!) :) We also scattered them for a wild mushroom foraging activity. Mushroom foraging is very popular in our area and the kids desperately want to go pick their own food in the forest every time they see neighbors come back with a basket full of cool mushrooms. As such, I announced that the famous Amanita Muscaria is a toxic mushroom and that although it can be found in our local forest, it should not be eaten (well, some people swear it can but only with proper prep)! :)

Handmade Fairy Bubble Wands
A crafty little idea that I've seen on so many different blogs this summer and last. Children love blowing bubbles and well, mine are no different. I've made my own bubble solution countless times now but had never made my own wand. In this activity, Zahavah made her own fairy wand using pipe cleaners and decorative beads. They can be shaped any way really and of various sizes as well. I'm not sure what she enjoyed most: the making the wand or the "using" of the wand! :)

Fairy Color Mixing Class
How do fairies make all these rainbow colors? They mix them of course. Using translucent "tokens" in the primary colors, we discovered how two colors put together could give use secondary colors. This was nothing new to Zahavah who has mixed her own paint colors a while ago but it was a different, mess-free, approach.

Cylinder Block 1
Of course, I had to keep up with "regular" stuff too. We revised our "S,m,a,t" sandpaper letters and added other non-thematic elements such as the mini cylinder block 1.

Parts of a Plant - because a good fairy loves plants!
Now, fairies spend a fair amount of time in the garden so it's only normal they should know about plants, right? 3 part cards, booklets, wall chart, puzzle, any of these can be helpful in presenting/reinforcing this kind of learning. I chose to present a real plant: my beloved orchid and a set of 3 part cards provided graciously by The Helpful Garden (which by the way provides the most amazing and beautiful FREE Montessori materials by the way). 

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